The Miami Dolphins put all their eggs in the Tua Tagovailoa basket this offseason, believing the former Alabama quarterback will make a massive Year 2 leap on an otherwise playoff-caliber roster.
While offseason practices have brought ups and downs, Dolphins' teammates have seen a much more confident QB than his rookie campaign.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald surveyed Miami players about the starting signal-caller, and each pointed to increased assurance and chance-taking as what should help Tua improve in his second season.
"He's always had accuracy. That was never a problem," safety Eric Rowe said. "He always had the zip, always had the power. I just believe it's that year-two jump that everyone needs to make from their rookie year. And obviously the type of offense. Last year, I even noticed his playbook was condensed to slants and bubbles. They really wouldn't let him show his arm. Now seeing training camp, a lot more deep routes, they're allowing him the opportunity to throw it deep. That's what we need.
"Tua is making that jump. I see each day he's getting better from the first day. Opposing defenses can't just double one guy and be like everybody else is covered"
Tight end Durham Smythe underscored that teammates and coaches see a more confident QB.
"It just seems like confidence," Smythe said. "That's a big thing for year-one to year-two players. He understands the offense, yada, yada, has got a great arm. Everyone says that. Everyone knows that. But confidence year one to year two, that's big. If he continues to develop that, the sky's the limit."
Tagovailoa's five-INT practice in June caught headlines but was part of the process for the Dolphins QB to figure out just how aggressive he can be. According to reports at Dolphins camp, Tua has impressed and hasn't tossed an INT in four straight practices as of Monday.
Miami is counting on Tagovailoa carrying over that confidence and playmaking when the games actually matter.